[This is a part of Buick's Human Highlight Reel campaign where we take a short trip down memory lane to look at a former Ole Miss football player who, under unexpected and difficult circumstances, was able to transform his life as well as the lives of those around him for the better.]
In the summer of 2009, two Ole Miss football stars, Dexter McCluster and Greg Hardy, were involved in a car accident on a stretch of Highway 6 west of Oxford. As the two were driving back from Tupelo, a car suddenly pulled onto the road in front of the SUV in which they were travelling, hitting one of the vehicle's front wheels and sending it off into the ditch. The damage was bad enough to cause the engine to catch fire, but not bad enough as to prevent the footballers' escapes.
This was the moment that changed Dexter McCluster's life forever.
There he stood, on the side of a rural Mississippi highway watching a car slowly consume itself with fire, realizing that, just moments before, his and Greg Hardy's lives could have ended. Had circumstances been slightly different - had they been travelling at a different speed, had the car been a few feet to the left or right, had the car which hit them pulled out at a different moment - the accident could have been so bad as to not have at all afforded them the opportunity to escape the wreckage. Seeing this and knowing that his life, as well as the lives of everyone he will ever know, can quickly and without warning be taken away greatly moved Dex in a way that we may never fully realize.
Once he gathered his senses about him, the first person he called was his daughter. He told her he loved her and that he would be alright. Hearing her voice and knowing what he meant to her was what gave him a new perspective on his life and instilled in him a sense of purpose.
Since that day, Dexter McCluster has worked both in Mississippi and in the Kansas City area as a part of the Chiefs organization on numerous charities which benefit children and their families. In Oxford, he worked with the Leap Frog and Angel Ranch programs, helping raise awareness and money for their efforts. In Missouri, he used his singing talents to raise money for the victims of the tornado which hit the city of Joplin earlier this summer. He has also been outspoken about his faith and what this means for him, his family, and his career.
Seeing Dexter McCluster excel on the field truly excites all of us as Ole Miss Rebel football fans. But seeing him work to the benefit of those in the communities lucky enough to have him is what makes us proud to have a guy like Dex associated with our university, footballer or not.
[To see the rest of the Buick Human Highlight Reel, go to www.NCAA.com/Buick.]